Mitelli, The world is mostly a madhouse

Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, The world is mostly a madhouse, etching, 1684

The print, created by Mitelli himself, showing the title at the top in the form of a rebus, represents a cage densely inhabited by various characters, on top of which sits Fortune.   Inside the cage are the many, who according to two quatrains at the bottom of the page, have lost their mind in various ways. Among them, the painter himself is portrayed twice: at the top-right shown painting and bottom right with a cage of birds tied to his belt, seemingly hitting the feet of a Turk. This is an ironic reference to the series of etchings carved by Mitelli in protest to the Turkish invasion of Hungary and Austria. At the top centre of the composition a woman is rocking herself under the word VANA. Further down, an astronomer scans the sky, some carouse, others perform various actions, one even commits a murder. A man holds up a flag that says VEN'E 'PER TUTI. The theme of madness is recurrent in popular printings, and this print was easily understandable by all and well appreciated. The Bertarelli Collection owns a large holding of Mitelli prints, approximately 470.